When we talk about social justice, we say that everyone should be in symmetry with one another. In Filipino we say, "pantay-pantay tayong lahat." But I thought this can only apply to certain social relationships like those in a democratic society. Teacher-student or parent-child relationships should be special cases of asymmetry. Since teachers and parents are into forming the young, schools and homes should not be that democratic.
Or so I thought.
At home, I have a little tyrant who is so very well aware of his "right to equality."
When I, out of frustration and exhaustion, would declare to him, "I am getting mad already!" he would retort, "And I also!"
So instead of getting really mad, I end up tickling him for lack of a better thing to do. (I mean, what do say to a four-year old like that?)
One time, I tried to teach him a lesson over yelling at mum repeatedly. I wanted him to say sorry for it, but he wouldn't. (Books say some kids at this stage have difficulty in saying the 'S' word.) As punishment, I didn't let him watch his favorite TV shows. He then did all the tricks to persuade me otherwise: cried, cried harder, and when I remained unfazed, run to hug me and beg. But I had to make him understand that mum is serious this time and that he can't just go on treating people like that. Still the sorry didn't come. Ergo, no TV privilege.
He then tried to excuse himself by saying that he was "shy" about saying sorry. To that I kept a straight face (even if I found it cute). He then came up with a better argument that left me tongue-tied for a moment: "But you also shouted at me!" (???)
I thought to myself, "Tama nga naman! Mummy is also at fault." And so, in that ridiculous moment, I ended up saying sorry first. He said sorry, eventually, but still...?
Tonight I brought home a new Britta water purifier. His eyes glimmered at the sight of a new "toy" as I brought it out from the box. I then gave him a gentle warning:
"Anak, this is not a toy. I don't want to have you playing with it, or else mummy will get angry."
"And then?" he asked nonchalantly.
"And then I will put you in the naughty chair!" I said matter-of-fact-ly.
Then little Mr. Justice and Equality said: "And then I will also put you in the naughty chair!"
"Why?" I asked.
"Because you put me in the naughty chair!"
God help me! I know that justice and equality are fascinating concepts, but I think my son is taking them way too seriously!